ATLANTA — The way sports fans enjoy the game has undoubtedly changed and that appears to be especially true for supporters of the Atlanta Braves.
Businesses at The Battery Atlanta opened their doors and showed the game for fans willing to head out. This is one of the first sporting events that people are getting to watch during this pandemic. 11Alive spoke with fans who say it's about time.
A lot of the fans said they just wanted a sense of normalcy. And while they were happy and enjoying themselves, you could tell the thought of COVID was still very much on their minds.
For a few hours, though, it's easy for them to forget there's a pandemic.
"I'm just happy to be here,” Tevin said. “Happy to be out of the house watching sports, finally."
But, if you look outside, it's a different story: an empty stadium, quiet streets, and caution signs.
These Braves fans didn't want to wait until the smoke cleared. They wanted to support their team, but they also said they needed these few hours of distraction.
"We need it because it can be a lot on your mind, constantly being in the house, cooped up, we need scenery,” Kyle said. “But I think, right now, this is the way of life right now."
Separated tables, markers on the floor, and workers in masks were little reminders of the changeup, but also the very things making these fans comfortable.
"To open it up like this so we can still socially distance and still get that true Atlanta Braves baseball season here, it feels good," Michael McFadden said.
"I think human interaction is super important and something that everyone needs, so I don't think that everyone needs to stop living their lives, but I think they need to be safe about," Lauren said.
And the crowd there on Friday night was minuscule in comparison to what the locale normally sees at the Battery when the Braves play.
So how well did fans follow the safety guidelines? Almost everyone we saw wore masks until they got inside the restaurant and started eating and drinking. Folks said they still understood the risk but were relieved they had a space to go that was taking a lot of precautions.